Hyperion sags under its own weight.
It's an expansive science fiction tale talking place eight hundred years in the future. A human civilization, the Hegemony, which incidentally looks a lot like Rome circa 400 AD, is under threat by a rabble of invaders called the Ousters. With this galactic drama as the backdrop, the story centers on a pilgrimage of seven people to the planet Hyperion to meet the Shrike, a being that lives outside of time, seems to kill people just for fun, and for reasons not quite clear to me even after I finished the book, holds the key to the brewing war between the Hegemony and the Ousters.
That's the essential story, and Dan Simmons takes about 480 pages to tell it. There are some admittedly creative, if imitative, elements to this novel, including a nod to Geoffrey Chaucer (each of the pilgrims tells a tale, reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales) and a nod to Raymond Chandler (one pilgrim tells her tale is in an amusing film noir tone).
But at the end of this novel, I closed the book, said to myself, "What the heck happened? Was this all just a setup for the next book?" And then I resolved not to read the sequel.